Icy Architecture Steals the Show from Breckenridge Homes at Ullr Fest
A splendid sampling Breckenridge homes in the Summit County real estate market get upstaged annually during the Budweiser Select International Snow Sculpture Championships. Ice sculptures hand chiseled by teams from across the world razzle-dazzle tens of thousands of guests during the events. The 2015 competition kicks off with a gunshot at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, January 27.
The enthusiastic and highly skilled designers and architects have 65 hours in 5 days to shape poetic and cultural masterpieces from 20-ton blocks of ice. Participants are restricted to rudimentary tools such as their hands and a few chisels. They compete for a number of awards including People’s Choice and Kids’ Choice.
The icy architectural feats may be viewed in the Tiger Dredge parking lot from Saturday, January 31 through Sunday, February 8, 2015.
Ullr is the Nordic God of snow. Snow is used to create the blocks of ice. The process was highlighted in the Summit Daily News (1/24/15) by Krista Driscoll. The massive ice cubes take shape through the efforts of volunteers. Carpenters build molds to accommodate the 10 x 10 x 12-foot blocks a huge SnoGo snow blower then churns out snow powder, sending it into the mold.
Volunteers climb scaffolding to enter the mold. They then stomp on consecutive layers of snow as the snow machine channels it in. The stomping action eliminates pockets of air. When the ice block is complete, a crane operator lifts the mold away from the block of packed snow. The blocks are then moved into position for the competition at the Tiger Dredge parking lot.
Teams of four sculptors take over from there. More than a hundred teams submit applications to compete but only 14 are invited. Participants change every year. In the United States, the National Ice Carving Association (NICA) provides guidelines and organizes competitions for the increasingly popular hobby.
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